Todd Ashman, brewer at Flossmoor Station, in Flossmoor, IL, just south of Chicago,and a perennial medal winner at beer competitions all over the country, made his first ever trip to Philadelphia, to serve up 6 of his beers at a wild beer dinner with chef Adam Glickman of Monk's Cafe on September 10. Fellow DDC Chowhound Mike Gates from Haddonfield joined me for this one.
The dinner at Monk's was incredible! Ashman brought his best stuff and Glickman matched him, course for course:
A "Framboise De Flossmoor" as a pre-dinner beer. Crisp, tart, full or raspberries but not cloyingly sweet, with some hop character shining through. A delightful aperitif.
It was followed by perfect,
briny pickled oysters paired with Ashman's
"Bill & Todd's Excellent IPA", a
whollop of an IPA, made with special-order Amarillo hops and some Centennial hops,we were told,
just bursting with good hop flavor. Knocked everyone on their collective asses.
"Todd's Tupelo Tripel" followed, paired with Roast Quail in Tupelo Honey Glaze
atop Jasmine and Basmati rices, the beer fragrant and sweet with Tupelo honey (insert favorite Van Morrison reference here),
the quail plump and flawlessly roasted, the rices combined clever and equally fragrant.
"Old Conundrum" barleywine, aged in a Jack Daniels cask, followed, paired with a
Mussel Bisque that was pure silk.
The barleywine was absolute sin in a glass, smooth, innocent and layered with flavor. A genius beer. Chef Glickman fashioned a mussel bisque assertive enmough to stand up to this beauty. Amazing.
TWO beers accompanied the next course, a large Venison and Leek Dumpling:
Ashman's signature Pullman Brown Ale and his Abbaye Dubbel, a great tri-pairing
of rich malt in the brown ale and simple candied sweetness and roast in the
Dubbel with an earthy venison preparation in a massive dumpling.
TWO beers came with dessert, a Bitterseeet chocolate Brownie disk:
"Old Conundrum" again, but differently aged in a new, charred oak barrel, redolent of good oakiness and some
smoke, and a surprise beer, Todd's two-year-old "Eclipse Imperial Stout", like the
finest expresso beans and dark chocolate with chest-warming oomph.
Most every major player in Philly's beer community attended, including brewers
from Dogfish Head, Yards and Nodding Head, who were very obviously blown away by Ashman's bold, bold beers.
A truly memorable dining and beer experience at Monk's Cafe .